Design Engineering

Canadian bike maker leverages CFD for latest model

By Design Engineering Staff   

CAD/CAM/CAE CAD CD-adapco Cervelo CFD

Cervelo designs its most aerodynamic road bike, the S5, with CD-adapco's CFD tool, STAR-CCM+.

Canadian high-end bicycle company, Cervelo — known for the distinctive airfoil shape of its bikes’ down pipe — teamed up with, Intel, R Systems and engineering software company, CD-adapco to test the design of its S5 racing bike before its release. As a result, the company says the S5 doubles the aerodynamic advantage its S3 model had over traditional road bicycles.

As anyone who has ever ridden a bicycle on a windy day knows, aerodynamics play a huge role in cycling. Drag makes up 80-90 percent of the resistance experienced by an average rider on a flat road – 80 percent of this drag is due to the rider, with the remaining 20 percent down to the bicycle itself.

Cervelo’s engineers used CD-adapco’s CFD tool, STAR-CCM+, to carefully simulated each component on the S5, looking for ways to minimize aerodynamic drag. Each small reduction in drag allows the cyclist to ride faster for the given energy expenditure — which over the course of a race can deliver the vital seconds.

In the design of the S5, Cervelo ran simulations using the STAR-CCM+ Power-on-Demand licensing scheme on R Systems HPC resources powered by multi-core Intel processors. STAR-CCM+ Power-on-Demand allows users to run STAR-CCM+ simulations using an on-demand cloud computing service.


Since 1995, Cervelo’s mission has been to produce lighter, stronger and more aerodynamic cycles using the most advanced technology in both engineering and manufacturing. Based on extensive wind tunnel testing and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation, the S5 is the most advanced aerodynamic road bicycle ever developed by Cervelo.


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